The top court on Thursday closed the contempt plea filed by BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi against Congress leader Rahul Gandhu for wrongly attributing to the apex court his “chowkidar chor hai” remark in Rafale case against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Terming the statement as unfortunate, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Jusice Ranajn Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul and KM Joseph said Gandhi should be more careful in the future.
Lekhi had accused Gandhi of misquoting the April 10 order of the apex court in which it had allowed additional leaked documents to be put on record as evidence in the Rafale case.
Gandhi, who was then the president of the Congress party, allegedly said that the apex court had accepted that ‘chowkidar’ (a reference to Prime Minister Modi), is a “chor’ (thief).
Pursuant to this, the Supreme Court issued a contempt notice against him. Chief Justice Gogoi was categorical that Gandhi had to either offer a clear-cut apology or face criminal contempt.
Subsequently, Gandhi tendered an unconditional apology to the top court and sought closure of the contempt proceedings against him.
During the course of proceedings, former Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who represented Lekhi, had argued that Gandhi’s apology should be rejected and action must be taken against him.
“He (Gandhi) has only expressed regret. The law is clear in contempt cases that the line starts with an unconditional apology,” he had submitted before the court.